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take steps outside of -- >> the senate is in today working on democratic leader harry reid's bill dealing with the debt and deficit. booktv will resume when the senate goes into recess. you can watch booktv programming any time online at the senate is expected to vote on moving forward with senator reed's measure in about an hour. his plan cuts the deficit by $2.4 trillion over 10 years, sets up a congressional committee to recommend more cuts, and raises the debt ceiling in three stages. live coverage on c-span2. save us, o god, for the waters are coming in upon us. we are weary from the struggle, tempted to throw in the towel, but quitting isn't an option.
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today, fill our lawmakers with the spirit of your wisdom, guiding their footsteps to a desired destination. draw near to them and deliver them from evil, for the kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to you. you are our strength and shield, and our hearts can safely trust in you. save your people and bless their inheritance. we pray in your stong name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
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i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, july 31, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable richard blumenthal, a senator from the state of connecticut, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following any leader remarks the senate will resume consideration of the motion to concur in the house memg to accompany s. 627, which is the legislative vehicle for the debt limit increase, with the time until 1:00 f.p.l. equally
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divided. about 1:00 p.m. then, the senate will vote to invoke cloture on the house message to accompany the reid amendment. no matter the outcome of this vote, mr. president, the message will still be before this body. this is -- if there is an agreement that can be met, this is the vehicle to be used to send it back to the house. mr. president, as the clock ticks down to august 2, i remind everyone within the sound of my voice what really is at stake. at this very moment, millions of seniors across this great country worry that their next social security check might not come to them on wednesday. middle-class families wonder whether their retirement accounts will be wiped out by an economic collapse brought about by default on this nation's debt. and active military personnel, including many who are risking their liberia lives for our gren
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wonder whether they'll receive their paychecks. admiral mike mullen visited with troops serving in afghanistan yesterday. the soldiers admiral mullen talked with weren't asked about how a troop drawdown would affect them. they asked if they would get paid if the republicans forced the united states government to stop paying its bills. the region that has been rocked by violence and plagued by sue coyed bombers this month, they wondered how they would take care of the families if the checks stopped coming next month. let me read a little bit of that press story that came out yesterday. quote -- "half a world away from the capitol -- capitol hill deadlock -- the economy and debt crisis are weighing heavily on the u.s. troops in afghanistan. the top question among them is one a top u.s. military officer wouldn't answer: will we get
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paid?" end of quote. admiral mullen went on to say, "i don't know the teens that question, but either way, those soldiers" he said, "all of us must continue to work every day." mr. president, this is really unacceptable. a country as rich and powerful as ours, men and women with bombs going off around them, shouldn't worry about whether this country will leave them high and dry. this afternoon i asked those who said they will never compromise on any terms to think about who their stubbornness will really hurt: seniors, soldiers, and others. i've spoken to the vice president this morning, a couple of times. he's home -- of course we have to be hopeful -- that we're close to an agreement with republican leaders. the framework of this agreement is based on new ideas and some old ideas. after speaking with the republican leader, mitch
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mcconnell, this morning, we're cautiously optimistic. there are a number of issues yet to be resolved and we must understand that there's no agreement that has been made. we're optimistic that one can be reefed but we're not there yet. the optimism in days' past has been storchedz on at various times. these major issues still to be resolved are these ongoing discussions is something we have to resolve in the next few hours. each of them must be resolved before we've final agreement. as we know, one problem can stop the whole agreement from going forward. we must get something done as quickly as possible. all sides are aware of this urgency. it is unfortunate the house of representatives wasted all last week on legislation they knew would never pass the senate. and in fact barely passed the house, but passed the house with only republican votes. not a single democratic vote. democrats have said all along
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that we would never agree to a short-term arrangement that would put our economy at risk and force congress into other debt ceiling showdown in a few weeks. we have to move on. the house measure fixed the debt ceiling for five months -- august, september, october, november, and december -- five months. we would be back in this same months in a matter of weeks. we could not allow that to happen. so any agreement has to have a long-term approach. that's a long-term approach that we've taken here in the senate is absolutely necessary. we must give financial markets confidence this country won't shirk its obligations now or in the future. i know that the compromise being discussed at the white house adopadopts the senate's long-tem approach which will give the economy the certainty it needs, take us past the year -- past january 2013.
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that has to be done. and that will be done. -- and that will be done if an agreement is reached. it is also crucial that the agreement being crafted set us on the path to fiscal restraint. there's still elements to be resolved and we're watching them very closely. it must include thoughtful contraintconstraints on spendin. the 12-member commission will be a key to that effort, and i say to my friend, the republican leader, i appreciate his wrapping his arms around this and being such a cheerleader for this idea. it is a good idea. it is an idea that congress itself can solve the problem. it would be a joint committee that would move forward and thrldz bthere would be a triggef they didn't resolve this, then something else would happen. and based on past experiences, i think there would be tremendous incentive not to let that
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certain thing happen when the trigger kicked in. so senator mcconnell and i agree that the commission owns the responsibility to set this country on the path to fiscal responsibility. the joint committee -- there are no constraints. they can look at any program we have in government, any program, any that has the ability to look at -- it has the ability to look at everything. the commission will assure that we undertake that responsibility. when i thought of this idea about the commission, i knew it was noorn it achieve real results and it will be essential to choose members with minds willing to consider every option, even when the options are tough pills to swallow for both parties. so, mr. president, cooperation is the only way forward. compromise is the only way forward. this is what andrew carnegie said about the virtue of compromise: "i shall argue that strong men"
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-- and since the senate has changed so dramatically, and strong women -- that's me, i stuck that in. "i shall argue that strong men know when to compromise and that all principles can be compromised to serve a greater principle." andrew carnegie. but perhaps abraham link son said it best. "determine that the thing can and shall be done and thefn we shall find the way." that's what we need today, mr. president. we must determine that the thing can and shall be done and then we need to find that way. that's president abraham lincoln. would the sharchair announce thr the day. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the house message to accompany s. 627, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to concur in the house amendment to s. 627, and act to establish the
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commission on freedom of information act, processing dislais with an amendment. amendment. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 1:00 p.m. shall be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. cardin: mr. president, let me first compliment the majority leader. i think he said it accurately, and that is we need to find a compromise between where we are so that we can move forward with the -- increasing the debt limit and a credible plan to reduce the deficit. i've heard many of my colleagues talk about that, but i just really want to point out that leader reid's proposal that we will be voting cloture in a few moments is a compromise.
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it includes two major provisions that the republicans have been asking about that quite frankly many democrats disagree with. first, there will be dollar-for-dollar reduction in spending for the increase in the debt ceiling. now, let me tell you, there is no relationship between a debt ceiling and spending. the debt ceiling represents funds that have already been committed, that we have an obligation to pay. and we all understand what would happen if we violated the debt ceiling. it would affect the credit of america, it', its standing internationally, it would affect our creditworthiness in america, increase the cost of government borrowing, increase the taxes -- the spending for all taxpayers in this country, it would have effects in my own state of maryland. we've been told that the maryland bond rating is very much tied to the federal bond
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rating and could very well cause a bond railin bond rating for m. every family would be affected. so the reid bill yields to what the republicans have asked, and that although there's no relationship to the debt ceiling in the spending because these are bills that have already been incurred, there's dollar-for-dollar reduction in spending for every dollar increase in the debt. the second major concession the democrats have already made in the reid proposal is that there's no revenues in this. we've been talking a long time, if we're going to have a credible plan to reduce the deficit, we have to include all the elements of federal spending. and we have a lot of what we call tax expenditures, moneys that are spent in our tax code. some of these dollars are spent on shelters and loopholes that we should close. i've taken the floor several times to talk about several of
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these loopholes, the ethanol credit that we should not -- that should not be given for ethanol subsidies, the funds that go to gas and oil companies. there are a lot of loopholes in our tax code that we could close. the reid proposal has made an accommodation to the republicans to say okay, you said that's a deal killer, that's not in the reid proposal. so the reid proposal is the largest amount of deficit reduction, $2.4 trillion of deficit reduction, for $2.4 trillion of debt ceiling increase so we can get through march of next year, march of 2013; march of the year after that. that gives us the stability we need. we know what we've gone through already as far as this debt ceiling debate. it's already hurt our country. we don't want to go through this again. and that's what i think is critically important by moving forward to get this done.
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now, mr. president, we're going to have a vote in about 45 minutes, and that vote is on cloture. i want to explain. senator levin talked about it yesterday. what the republicans are doing is they're filibustering the debt limit bill. that's what it is. it's a filibuster. they're requiring us now to have 60 votes rather than a simple majority. the speaker of the house, speaker boehner, passed his proposal in the house with a majority of those voting. now, that's what democracy should be about. and we're talking about the debt limit increase and whether it is a type of issue that should be filibustered by the republicans. they're doing that. they're filibustering it and the vote in a few moments will determine whether they believe we should be able to move forward without a 60-vote threshold. the majority leader has pointed out that on previous occasions we have taken up the debt
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ceiling and we have not required a 60-vote threshold. i had my staff pull the information about the debt votes that we had while george w. bush was president. we had one on june 28; no requirement for a 60-vote threshold. we had another on may 27, 2003. it passed the senate by 53-44 vote. no filibuster of that by the democrats. we had a vote on november 19, 2004, where the debt ceiling was increased by $800 billion. the vote was 52-44 in the senate. again, no effort made to require a 60-vote threshold. no effort made to filibuster that issue. and then again on september 29, 2007, the debt ceiling was increased by $850 billion by a vote of 53-42. once again, no effort made to
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filibuster that issue. webster's dictionary defines "filibuster" as the use of extreme dilatory tactics to delay or prevent action by the majority in a legislative or deliberative assembly." that's exactly what the republicans are doing if they vote against the cloture motion in a few moments. they're using extreme dilatory tactics to deny the majority the opportunity to take up an issue. i know that we're close to working out an agreement. i certainly hope we work out an agreement on this. i've been saying on the floor of the senate for a long time that democrats and republicans need to put the nation's interests first. we have two goals: increase the debt ceiling and a credible plan to deal with the deficit. the reid proposal offers solutions to both of those goals. i hope we have a bipartisan agreement before the day is out and we can move forward. but i think it's critically
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important that the members of the senate express whether they believe we should be filibustering a debt limit increase. i believe that is not the right precedent for this body to do. we should always allow the debt ceiling to be increased by a majority vote, so they did in the house of representatives. that's what we should be doing in the united states senate. and i would urge my colleagues to vote for the cloture motion, but let us continue this discussion, because in order to get a bill to the president's desk, we know we're going to have to reach further promises. we understand that. we've had, i think, some discussions among our colleagues here. i'm very hopeful that we'll be able to reach that type of a compromise. we have a chance in a few minutes to move forward so that express ourselves that we should be doing this in the senate by majority vote. i urge my colleagues to support cloture. i urge my colleagues to support the reid proposal.
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and then i would ask unanimous consent that during the quorum call, time be equally divided between the democratic time and the republican time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: and with that, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, the senator from connecticut is recognized. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i would like to join others of my colleagues in thanking and commending the majority leader, senator reid, for his tireless and relentless work in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. he has been a model for me as a new member of the senate in leading this body, and many of my other democratic colleagues in the leadership, and some of our republican colleagues as
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well -- senator johnny isakson, for example, of georgia who spoke to this chamber yesterday morning and who demonstrated his determination, as others on the other side of the aisle have done to work together in reaching an agreement. as the majority leader said just moments ago, the word of the day must be "cooperation" and "compromise." it is the word that we are hearing from countless americans and my fellow citizens of connecticut day after day. we want you to get the job done. put aside the partisan differences. america is speaking with one voice, and washington must listen. you know, i am new to washington. i haven't been here for long. i've just marked my first six months in the united states senate. but i understand more and more why my fellow connecticut
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citizens and americans are so frustrated and often appalled by what goes on here. this situation is outrageous. we have an impending crisis self-created and devastating possible wounds self-inflicted, and washington has been deadlocked. there is a tkpwhreurpl of hope. -- a glimmer of hope, a reason to be cautiously optimistic. a solution is in sight but still work needs to be done. and washington needs to end the tkpwhreud lock, the strait -- the gridlock, the straitjacket that has been self-imposed and take action to protect our citizens from financial catastrophe. our nation is at a financial crossroads. we need to rein in spending, cut the debt and deficit, make the tough choices necessary to get our fiscal house in order. and we need to do it now. the fiscal news in the last few days, the anemic and fragile
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measures of recovery show more than ever why we need now certainty that ending this deadlock will produce. uncertainty is the enemy. it's the enemy for businesses that are deciding whether to hire, for banks wanting to loan money to those businesses, for larger cooperations sitting on mountains of cash waiting to invest and create jobs. jobs and our economy are the main reasons to make these tough choices literally today, to make these tough choices now. we have a historic moment, and we must seize it. and we cannot keep kicking these decisions down the road. families in connecticut and across the country make these tough choices every day, and
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they rightfully expect nothing less from us. tough choices are necessary to help get our debt and our deficit under control. i've heard as late as this morning, sunday morning, from hundreds of connecticut residents who are frustrated and appalled at what is going on here, what they see in washington, d.c. berniece from talon, connecticut, she can't believe we don't have an agreement and she's worried she won't receive her social security check next month. jane, from west passed, she's -- west har ford she's wondering why we're protecting sweetheart deals. rod from new millford, he just wants to us compromise and get something done to end this nightmare. i agree with them and hundreds of others from connecticut and around the country who want to
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make sure that those troops in afghanistan are paid, that their families are taken care of. and i thank the citizens of connecticut for calling or writing to me. i agree that the immediate solution and agreement with them is not only to raise the debt ceiling, but also to cut spending. as the reid proposal makes clear, dollar for dollar to match every increase in that debt ceiling, without tax increases -- none -- without any cuts in medicare or social security. none. those basic principles in the reid proposal are what should be embodied in what the outcome is of this debate. the markets need a real solution, not a short-term fix to, demonstrate that we're commited to achieving real results in cutting spending.
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ann from connecticut called yesterday to say a short-term plan would not provide the certainty the markets are desperately seeking, and i agree. no short-term plan can provide that kind of certainty. it risks a credit rating downgrade and ensures that we will be back here in another six months. and as much as we may criticize the rating agency -- and i have been one to criticize them most vehemently, as an attorney general of my state of connecticut and now as a member of this body, we must deal with that reality at this moment and take action down the road to address the need for reform. credit rating agencies' downgrades seem abstract and intangible, but they are hugely consequential. a downgrade in our credit rating would likely cause in effect an
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automatic tax increase in the form of higher interest rates for every american who has a mortgage, a car loan, a student debt, or a credit card. and the american people deserve better. coming together, compromise is essential now. majority leader reid has proposed a solution that meets all of the criteria that house republicans have demanded for weeks. it doesn't raise taxes or revenues. it includes enough spending to meet the debt ceiling increase dollar for dollar, and it includes spending cuts that are the same, the very same as our republican colleagues, our friends across the aisle, have previously voted for and supported over these past weeks. and most importantly, senator reid's plan makes tough spending cuts but doesn't balance the budget on the backs of our seniors or our most vulnerable. it protects vital programs and does not make cuts to benefits, to medicare, to social security.
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i can pledge again as i have repeatedly that i will oppose cuts in medicare or social security. time and again democrats have shown that we are willing to compromise to avert catastrophe and tkpwault. unfortunately -- and default. unfortunately, at every turn republicans in the house have blocked any chance for progress and continue to put us in a very dangerous path. i am hopeful that the deadline will produce a compromise, that the talks will be productive. but today's filibuster of our efforts to prevent a default is indeed unprecedented. as my colleague, the very distinguished senator from maryland, has pointed out just a few moments ago on the floor, since march of 1962, copping has raised the debt -- congress has raised the debt limit 74 times, 18 times under president reagan, during george w. bush's
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administration congress passed five stand-alone debt limit increases without a filibuster or delay, and until today -- until this point, debt limit increases were routine, usually passed by a simple 51-vote majority, without the procedural hurdles that my republican colleagues are using today. they need to come to the table and hopefully they will continue to be at the table to work with us to find a compromise for the good of the country and the good of our economic recovery. so i hope that my republican colleagues will join us in achieving that result for the sake of millions of connecticut families who are watching and listening, as are hundreds of millions of americans, a understand for the sake of -- and for the sake of our economy moving in the right direction. it is about jobs, jobs, jobs, the certainty that our economy needs at this point in its
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history, affordable interest rates to move our economy forward. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: i thank the senator from connecticut for his comments and his focus on jobs. if you ask the american people what the most important thing is we fairks it's jobs, creating good-paying jobs right here in the united states so that families can succeed and our economy can grow. i noted this morning that the president's economic advisor jean sperling said that if the first three months when president obama was sworn into office, we lost 2.3 million jobs. that is what he faced walking in the door, and we have been trying to dig out of that hole ever since. i would say, mr. president, that simplsymbolically, that agreemes moving us to the point where we are having the final interment
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of john maynard canes. he nominally died in 1946 but it appears that we are going to put him to his final rest with this agreement. keynes was a british economist who turned the world upside down when he started arguin arguing t just the force of the markets is not enough to resolve problems when we face recession and depression. we need to play a more active role, a more assertive role in increasing aggregate demand by programs. now, one of the great disciples of that point of view was franklin roosevelt, who when he came to the presidency in the midst of the great depression, believed that we needed to work -- infrastructure work across america to put more money in our economy. that was a positive force that helped to bring us out of the depression. argue it was old -- some argue it was only a halting effor hal.
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but now take a look at where we are today. we have a problem, an obvious problem with it would-high unemployment, lack of consumer demand and confidence, and a reluctance by many americans to make purchases of goods and services that would create a demand for more work, more jobs, more economic growth. the president came to office and said, well, the first thing we need to do is to move this economy forward. and he passed a stimulus package, which i supported. the stimulus package, i believe 40% of that stimulus package went into tax cuts for families so they would have more spending power, particularly lore and middle-income families. he also put more money into frarks trying to make sure we move forward, building in mechanic for our future and moafn for state and local governments that you were clearly struggling with the cutback i revenue. it was helpful but did not turn the economy around. we are moving in the right direction. the next thing that the president did last december was
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reach a bipartisan agreement, a controversial one, to extend tasm tax cuts in this country. the obvious belief was that if we continue to put spending power in the hand of working families who have a lower propensity to save with every marginal dollar, they'll spend it and help the economy get back on its feet. so that was the second phase of the stimulus lussments what we are talking about now in terms of our future, the next ten years and what we'll do specifically for the next year and a half is to do the opposite. it is to take money out of the economy by reducing government spending. that is a way to reduce the deficit, at least it appears to be, but yelt it really flies in the face of this notion that we can increase aggregate demand, increase demand for goods and services and create jobs. itches a member of the deficit commission, the bowles-simpson commission, and that commission was very careful not to put into place the spending cuts for at least a year until we were back
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on our feet. and the economy was moving forward. their fear and the fear that i share is that if we make spending cuts at this point, it will not help economic recovery. in fact, many would agree -- i think paul krugman regularly or reports that point of view in "the new york times," and i think he's right. so here we are in the horns after dilemma. in order to avoid the a disaster that would occur august 2 if the united states defaulted on its debt for the first time in its history, we are being told we have to cut back on government spending and by cutting back on spending, we may also have a negative impact on our economy. i'm afraid this dilemma is not going 0 srve our purposes very well. i'm not sure this is clear thinking. i think in many respects it is ideological thinking. the republican point of view has always been reduce the size of government at any cost to the economy. they believe in their heart of hearts, in the pre-keynesian view of the world that the
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market will work this all out if we just get out of the way. that may be possible, but it's going to be very costly experience and a costly experiment as people find themselves struggling through this recession without a helping hand. for example, will we extend unemployment benefits as part of this conversation about what we'll do with the economy for the next year and a half? i, for one, would argue we should. my understanding is they expire at the end of the this year and if that's the case, the extension of unemployment benefits will cut off direct payments to people that we know are the first dollars spent. families on unemployment spend it all because this is what they live on. so that stimulus to the economy may be cut off. mrs. boxer: would the senator yield for a question? mr. durbin: let me complete one thought and then ail a be happy to yield. secondly, the president has put in a payroll tax cut working families get about 2% each pay period. the belief is -- by the president, and i share it --
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that that kind of a helping hand ends up with dollars in hand for many fathers spent into the economy. i hope that we extend the payroll tax cut as part of this agreement. now, it doesn't serve specifically the need for deficit reduction, but it certainly serves the need for us tstimulate the economy and have people buy more. right now we have a crisis of consumer confidence and i think it is brought on by the bad news out of washington. we have to share some of this blame. it is brought on by the fact that many people overborrowed before the recession set in. many times going deeply into debt. for example, in the 1990's, the average indebtedness of a family was 84% of their annual income. it reached -- by the year 2507 -- about 125%, a 15% increase in indebtedness. and now families facing that indebtedness are retrenching, holding back, not making commitments, and it's coming down to 112% and slowly back to
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where it should be. what we're trying to do is to give people some spending power to create more consumer and aggregate demand for goods and services for business growth in this country. so i hope that as we look at this deficit-reduction package, as important as it is, we understand that we are doing it at an economically dangerous time. when this recession still threatens you when many people are still held back because of their reluctance to spend and if we do not provide a helping hand in this situation, i'm afraid the economic recovery may be even slower. the political realities tell us that we're faced with this dilemma, either a default on the debt ceiling or cutbacks in spending. either one of which would be harmful to the commitment of i hope that we can find a way through this that is sensible, not just from a political point of view but on economic point of view. i yield to my colleague for a question. mrs. boxer: i have a few questions because what you are doing right now is stepping back
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and looking a at a bigger economic view of where we are. having come off an election in 2010 where frankly the only issue that i faced day after day is job creation, i think my friend is right to talk about that, but here we are in a crisis that is made up. we have raised the debt ceiling 89 time, and i know my friend has looked at all of this. and isn't it true that never before have we been in a circumstance where one political party has held the full faith and credit of the united states hostage to some agenda that they want to bring to the country? is that my friend's understanding? mr. durbin: there has never -- i would answer, there has never been an instance since 1939 in the 89 times when w we have
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extended the debt ceiling except for one time in 1979 for a few days, there's never been a fipple when we've used the debt ceiling as a political bargaining chip and there's never ban time when we were this close from defaulting, that the united states would not keep its promise to pay its bills. which as the senator knows would result in a loss of confidence in our comirks an increase of interest rates not just for the government but for businesses a and families everywhere at exactly the wrong time. mrs. boxer: okay, so what we have now established is that at a time of economic uncertainty, what the republicans have done, as a party, is hold this whole economy hostage. we've established that. it's never been done before. it is a made-up crisis. they know under ronald reagan the debt ceiling was raised 18 times. under george bush was 7, 8, or 9 times. and they never said a word. but now in the midst of this
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crisis, the economic crisis that we've had going on, this recession, they add this who are riffic crisis that they have made up. so -- and i have one more question i want to ask my friend for his comment. you know, i was thinking the other day how things are stalling. the economic growth, the recovery is stalling. and i look back on this and i say, you know, why has this happened? and one of the great reasons, i believe, as someone who did study economics a long time ago, is uncertainty. and this whole nightmare that we're going through, this unnecessary nightmare, here we are on a sunday, we know that talks are going on. this is unnecessary. but we're in this mess. the republicans wanted us to be in this mess again in three, four, five months.
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we finally, i hope, have gotten rid of that notion. we're not going to agree to a short-term extension here. but here's what i see here. as soon as the republicans took over, they stopped working here on this economy. not only did they stop working on the f.a.a. conference, the federal aviation administration, but they now have shut down the f.a.a. they refuse to allow an extension, and there are job losses all over my state -- i assume all over your state; they stopped completely at this time any work on patent reform, which chairman leahy says is hundreds of thousands of jobs; they have put forward a highway bill and a budget that cuts highways by a third and that's 600,000 jobs that will be lost; they voted down here with a filibuster mary
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landrieu's bill, my economic development bill, hundreds of thousands of jobs between those two; and now we have this made-up crisis. and how long have they been in? let's see? january, february, march, april, may, june, july -- seven months, and we're in a mess. so i say to my friend, as he puts forward this notion that we have to be concerned, it's not only -- it's not only that we have this made-up crisis, but it's also that they have put the brakes on anything the senate and the house can do to stimulate jobs. and does my friend agree that it's -- it's a very discouraging time? mr. durbin: well of course it is. and i think what's most disscourge the average person is asking, why would we inflict this pain in the midst after recession? why would we have the fear of dwawlgt on america's debt for the first time in our history? why would we lose or credit rating, the best in the world, aaa, because of a manufactured
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political debate here i washington? we'll pay for this for a long time. for every 1% interest rates go up, our national debt goes up $1.3 trillion over ten years. as we talk about all the spending cuts we want, the fact is we end up in a position where we can't really keep up with increases in the interest rate. the majority time has expired. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. levin: continuing the colloquy on this side of the aisle -- and we would give up the floor -- mr. mccain: --
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[inaudible] i used the time rather than have to listen to this. mr. president? how much time is remaining? the presiding officer: does the senator withdraw or withhold the quorum call? mr. mccain: i suggest the -- suspend further proceedings under the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, how much time is remaining? the presiding officer: the minority has 14 minutes. mr. mccain: 14 minutes. i'll tell you what, i'll be glad to engage in a short colloquy with the senator from illinois if he would like. the senator from illinois, i believe that we are close to an agreement here? mr. durbin: i hope so. mr. mccain: does the senator from illinois agree that most likely that agreement will not have an increase in taxes associated with it, at least in the short term? mr. durbin: i hope is not. mr. mccain: you hope so. mr. durbin: i heard there is
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revenue included in the agreement. mr. mccain: everything i've heard, the agreement does not have tax increases in it. mr. durbin: i honestly am not a party to this, but as gang of six and fiscal commission, we believe everything should be under consideration to reduce our national debt. mr. mccain: i assume that would also mean that the senator from illinois would advocate another stimulus package? mr. durbin: i want to make sure we have some stimulus to the economy to create jobs and help those out of work find work with training and education. mr. mccain: wufr -- one would have to assume that the senator from illinois believes the last package was successful, which counting interest, over $1 trillion, the senator from illinois and others who advocated the stimulus package said that if we pass this, unemployment will be a maximum of 8%. this will stimulate our economy and create jobs. and you know what the senator
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from illinois and others are saying now? it was not enough. it was not enough. that we didn't spend enough. that we didn't make the deficit larger because certainly nothing in the stimulus package was paid for. so i hope that the senator from illinois understands, the american people understand that just spending more money has failed, and failed miserably when you look at the latest news -- and it's on the front page of the "wall street journal" and "the washington post" and "the new york times" -- that our economy is staggering back into a situation of stagnation. i'll be glad to let you respond. and the answer on the other side is, well, let's have some more spending and let's raise taxes. let's take some more money out of the taxpayers' pockets in the form of spending more money,
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their money. it's not the administration's money. it's not the senator from illinois' money. it's the people's money. take some more money of theirs. this is the nobel prize -- anyway, take more money in taxes and more out of the taxpayers' pockets, and that will be the answer to our problems. i'll be glad to hear the senator from illinois' response. mr. durbin: first i want to thank my colleague from arizona. for those who are witnessing this this is almost a debate in the united states senate, and it rarely happens. and i thank you for coming to the floor. mr. mccain: rather than have you use all our time, i thought i would engage in a colloquy. mr. durbin: i enjoy doing this. mr. mccain: go ahead, please. mr. durbin: first, during the course of your presidency campaign, mark zandi, your economist, helped you formulate some positions. his opinion of president obama's stimulus is that it stopped a precipitous decline in our economy, that it a -- did it achieve all we hoped for?
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no. mr. mccain: can i interrupt on that particular point. mr. zandi was one of many advisors to my campaign. the key advisor was douglas holtz-eakin, former head of the c.b.o., who had no brief whatsoever for that proposal. please go ahead. mr. durbin: the second point i'd like to ask the senator from arizona, i think one of the real bedrock beliefs among republicans is that if you cut taxes particularly on the healthiest -- wealthiest people in america the economy will pros puss. didn't the debt of the united states double under the president and he left a shambles behind him? 2.3 million jobs lost in the first three months of president obama administration because of this failed economic policy which you continue to espouse, that if we cut taxes on the rich, america is going to get wealthier. haven't we tried it? where are the jobs? mr. mccain: could i take a little trip down memory lane with my friend from illinois who
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i had great privilege many years ago -- i don't know if i should mention the 1982 election, he and i came to the house of representatives together. you might recall that one of his own, then a democrat congressman from texas, got together with president reagan and guess what we did? we cut taxes and guess what? we had one of the strongest roeufrs in reece -- recoveries in recent history of this country because -- could i just -- because we didn't start spending and add spending without paying for them. and i would say to the senator from illinois. he is correct. the spending that went on in the previous administration was not acceptable and led to the deficit. let me just finish. but i would also say speaking for myself, i voted against the medicare part-d because it was not paid for. i voted against the earmark and pork barrel spending which were abundant, as every appropriations bill came to the floor and dramatically increased
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spending in the worst way, wasteful and corrupt way, i will say. and i'm proud that at least some of us said if you don't stop this spending and get it under control, then you're going to face a serious problem. what i would also mention, and i've seen the chart, it's gotten a lot worse, gotten a lot worse since the last election. and you can't keep, biob, you can't keep up blame it on bush. mr. durbin: does he recall what happened with the reagan tax cuts? what happened was we tripled the national debt during that period of time. and president reagan came to congress 18 times to extend the debt ceiling. he holds the record. so to argue the reagan tax cuts led to great long-term prosperity is, i think, seriously in doubt if you're going to use the deficit as a measure. mr. mccain: if i could say we believe, and reagan believed, that cutting tax cuts would
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restore our economy, which was in the tank thanks to the practices of the previous administration before him, and we -- reagan presided over probably one of the greatest job-creation periods in the history of this country. and those are numbers that i would be glad to insert in the record. compare that with what has happened since this administration took office with the promise that if we passed obamacare, if we passed tarp, if we passed all of these others that the economy would then be restored and grow. and again, it's hard for my dear friend from illinois to refute the fact that the categorically stated that if we passed the -- quote -- "stimulus package" that unemployment would be at a maximum of 8%. unemployment food is 9.2%. and if you look at any indicator, whether it be housing starts, whether it be the deficit, whether it be
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unemployed, whatever it is, it's gotten worse since the stimulus package was passed rather than better. please go ahead. mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? mr. mccain: i'd be glad to just hear your comment. mr. durbin: i'm going to give you a clans to speak again. -- a chance to speak again. does the senator believe defaulting on our national debt for the first time in our history, the threat looming over from the house republicans and others for a long period, is good for america's economy? one of the senators on the floor here from the state of pennsylvania has come in and said defaulting on the debt is not that big a deal. it can be, quote in his words, easily managed. does the senator from arizona agree with that thinking? mr. mccain: as the senator may know, i came to the floor a couple of days ago and made that comment, and the senator from illinois and i are in agreement, point number one. you can prioritize -- i think the senator and every economist i know literally would agree. you can prioritize for awhile
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where you want what remaining money is left. but the message you send to the world, not just our markets but to the world, that the united states of america is going to default on its debts is a totally unacceptable scenario and beneath a great nation. we are in agreement, number one. mr. durbin: amen. mr. mccain: number two is that to insist, to insist that any agreement is based on the passage through the united states senate of a balanced budget amendment to the constitution of the united states, as i said before, is not fair to the american people because, because the terrible obstructionists on this side of the aisle, the terrible people, their flawed philosophical views about the future of america is not going to allow to us get 20 additional votes from your side, assuming that you get all 47 since it requires 67 votes to pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution.
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so i think it was not only wrong assessment, continuing's not fair to the american people to -- i think it's not fair to the american people to say we can pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution through the senate at this time. now maybe after the senator is defeated in the next election and we get rid of a lot of -- maybe that will happen. but certainly let's not tell the american people that that is a possibility today because i think it raises their expectations in a way that's not fair to them and, frankly, detracts from what i think is being done as we speak between the leaders, the president, democrat leaders and republican leaders, which is in a very short time frame. mr. durbin: i would say it pains me to say that i agree with the senator from arizona, but i do. we both feel threatening the debt ceiling is not in the best interest of the united states. and both of us feel that holding out the threat that if you don't pass a constitutional amendment, you can't let the economy continue is really not a good faith bargain. i wish senator byrd were here to
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respond to that particular suggestion. as for my prospects in the next election, i thank the senator from arizona for campaigning against me last taoeufplt when he -- last time. when he did i almost got 60% of the vote. i welcome you back to the land of lincoln any time. mr. mccain: i did so well in the presidential campaign in the land of lincoln, i'm not surprised i had such a dramatic impact on the the senator from illinois' election as well. this kind of discussion i think is important, number one. number two is we should have this national debate on other forums besides just the sunday show and perhaps the floor of the senate is the best place to do that. and i want to continue to engage with the senator from illinois. but i hope that this agreement, i hope that this agreement will assure the american people that we will meet our obligations, that we'll meet our obligations
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not only physically but fiscally, but also meet our obligations to them to govern, to govern, because they did send us here to govern. i think the senator from illinois would agree with me. the last approval rating of congress i saw, both sides of the aisle was about 16%. and i'm yet to encounter anyone in that 16% category in my travels back to my state. by the way, i would like to note the presence of the budget committee chairman here, senator conrad, who i think has made enormous good-faith efforts to reach an agreement on some of these issues. and i thank him for his work, and i want to assure him his reward will be in heaven, not here on earth. the senator from illinois? mr. durbin: i'd also like to thank the senator from arizona for the few minutes we shared on the floor. and i hope more members will do
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this rather than just taking turns and giving speeches. these exchanges even when we disagree are valuable. but i hope at the end of the day i agree completely with the senator from arizona, at the end of the day we cannot allow our economy to lapse into this default. it will be devastating to a lot of innocent families and businesses across america and will cost us dearly in terms of our national debt. so let us hope that we can find this bipartisan agreement that people are working on even at this moment, and i hope that we can do that soon. incidentally, i want to say for the record former senator alan simpson said -- and i quote -- "ronald reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration. i was here. i was here. i knew him better than anybody in the room. he was a real friend and a total realist as to politics." i yield the floor. mr. mccain: in retrospect, the one thing president reagan said he regretted and he regretted was the agreement that w

Book TV
CSPAN July 31, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

Sally Jacobs Education. (2011) Sally Jacobs ('The Other Barack The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama's Father.')

TOPIC FREQUENCY Mr. Mccain 21, Mr. Durbin 20, Us 18, America 11, Washington 9, United States 7, United States Senate 4, Arizona 4, Maryland 4, Reid 4, Mrs. Boxer 3, Afghanistan 3, Mr. Cardin 3, Reagan 2, Mr. Reid 2, Mullen 2, Connecticut 2, Mr. Blumenthal 2, George W. Bush 2, Simplsymbolically 1
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